How to make Khmer dessert Num Chak

Khmer dessert Num Chak
This Khmer dessert is often seen for sale in local markets. Its called Num Chak.

When you book a lunch or dinner with Sareth, you will get a yummy Khmer cake as dessert. But if you are lucky (chances at lunch are better), you can also see how this multi layered cake, known as Num Chak. Sareths family is doing it nearly every day, since they are selling Khmer desserts at the market as well. There are different versions, but the most authentic is a green-white layered cake.


  • Rice Powder
  • Pandan leaves
  • Coconut milk
  • Coconut cream
  • Water

The first step is to make the dough for the green layer. Therefor you have to cut the pandan leaves into small stripes. Then add some rice to it and grind it. The traditional way to is with a big grinder, like in the pictures:

How to make a Khmer dessert Num Chak
Pandan leaves are mixed with rice to make Num Chak.
How to make a Khmer dessert Num Chak
The mix then gets grinded.

Boiling the Khmer dessert Num Chak

Once the paste is thick, but still a liquid it will be taken out. In another bowl, rice flour is mixed with coconut milk and sugar. The green liquid is then put through a sieve and mixed with coconut milk and sugar as well. In the meantime a big pot with water starts boiling on the open fire place.

How to make a Khmer dessert Num Chak
The cake is baked in hot water.

The first layer of the cake dough is poured into a bowl and the bowl is then floating on the boiling water. After a few minutes, when it gets solid, the next layer will poured in – now its time for the green paste.

How to make a Khmer dessert Num Chak
Num Chak is made of diferren layers.

This is done layer for layer, until the bowl is filled. Then it is taken from the fireplace and into the shadow. It needs a few hours of cooling, but if you are really hungry, you can also eat it warm.

When the cake is cooled down, it will be cut into squares of 4x 4 cm. some Khmer pour a bit of coconut cream over when served.

How to make a Khmer dessert Num Chak
The cake can be consumed warm or cold.

There also more colorful options, where artificial coloring is used. If available, you can also use butterfly pea flowers for blue oder beetroot for red. If you are interested in a workshop “How to make a Khmer dessert” please let us now. We can arrange it at Sareth’s house on special request in addition to a lunch or dinner.

Khmer dessert in the making
Sarath will be happy to teach you how to make a Khmer dessert.

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